Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the website of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Israel (D-IL). After serving as a member of this Delegation for several legislatures, I now have the honour and privilege of serving as Chair. Together with Vice-Chairs Bert-Jan Ruissen (ECR, NL) and Elena Yonceva (S&D, BG) and all D-IL Members, we work to strengthen the bilateral, structural relationship with the Knesset, the parliament of the state of Israel.

Our Delegation works in close coordination with the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and other European Parliament bodies, such as the Committees on International Trade (INTA) and on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). Our Delegation also exchanges views on the Middle East Peace Process with our colleagues from the Delegation for relations with Palestine (DPAL).

Israel is a key and strategic ally of the European Union, as well as a country that shares our values and heritage. Political, economic and social cooperation - as well as trade, cultural and scientific exchanges - with Israel date almost to the origins of the Union itself, and have been extremely fruitful for both parties. The respect for human rights and democratic principles is an essential element of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and the basis of the bilateral relationship. Israel is also gradual being integrated into European policies and programmes through the Action Plan of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

Our Delegation closely follows the evolution of the Association Agreement and the ENP Action Plan. Through parliamentary diplomacy, we aim to increase the impact and the legitimacy of EU foreign policy, go hand in hand with the efforts to ensuring coherence and complementarity by the close coordination of our activities. During the current term, the Delegation for relations with Israel will work hard to enhance relations with Israel and with the wider region. In today's complex international context, this will require effectively using all parliamentary diplomacy tools available. Striving for peace, security and stability in the region is the core of all our activities.

We vigorously contest any kind of amalgamation - including any originating in the EU - between Israel's government policies and Judaism or people of Jewish origin. In the same spirit, our Delegation, in association with the LIBE Committee and all the other relevant parliamentary organs, fights against antisemitism.

I look forward to working with all of my fellow members on these ties, and to cooperating with Knesset counterparts in an enhanced partnership.

-Antonio López-Istúriz White (EPP, ES), Chair 2019-2024

Informal meeting of 30 April 2020 (remote participation)

19-05-2020 16:48
The meeting looked into the current situation in Israel - regarding the tackling of Covid-19 pandemic and the formation of the new unity government, with H.E. Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Head of the Mission of Israel to the EU and NATO

Communiqué by the Chair Antonio López-Istúriz

The EP Delegation for relations with Israel held on 30 April 2020 its first remote meeting amid pandemic constraints, which is also the first ever remote meeting of a EP delegation, in this difficult period.

Members debated with Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar, the Head of the Mission of Israel to the EU and NATO, on the state of bilateral relations EU - Israel as well as on the current situation in Israel, regarding the tackling of Covid-19 pandemic and the formation of the new emergency government.

The Chair, Antonio Lopez-Isturiz (EPP, ES) stressed the importance of working together to face common challenges, such as COVID-19 and conveyed a strong message of solidarity to all Israeli people while assuring of the full support of Israel's efforts in tackling this challenge.

The Israeli Ambassador presented the situation linked with the pandemic, underlining that Israel succeeded to cope well, due to several factors (precautionary measures taken from early stages, young population, good health system, support of military - in deliveries but also in finding solutions, including medical). He informed about the Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, at different levels, to combat the pandemic. De-confinement measures in Israel will be implemented soon. Concrete examples of EU - Israel cooperation in the field of research were given, including with regard to tackling corona virus.

With regard to the new government, the Ambassador informed that it is still not in place, as elements from the agreement between Likud and Blue and White, including the rotation between two prime ministers, triggers modification in Israeli basic laws, which need to be approved by the Knesset, and also due to petitions filed at the Supreme Court.

Some Members referred to and welcomed the decision announced on 30 April by Germany on banning all Hezbollah activities on German soil. According to the Ambassador the decision is important in the context of the involvement of Hezbollah in Syria, including in Idlib, its destabilising influence in Lebanon and the constant provocations against Israel.

Members made proposals of concrete cooperation in the field of research, health, education and new technologies and stress the importance of communicating to the European public opinion on EU relation with Israel and cooperation in various fields.

With regard to the structured dialogue EU - Israel, the Chair informed about the EEAS official reply at his written question on the Association Council: the EU is interested to hold the Association Council as soon as a date is commonly agreed by both parties. The Ambassador acknowledged the willingness at EU level, while making an appeal to the EEAS to take an active role with regard to Member States, in order to the Association Council to be able to meet.

The Chair's proposal of holding a remote meeting with the counterparts from the Knesset was highly supported by the Ambassador.

Delegation meetings

30-04-2020 13:31
Due to the epidemic of COVID-19), the President of the European Parliament and Parliament's political leaders have modified Parliament's calendar of activities for the next weeks. The aim is to enable Parliament to exercise its core functions, while providing duty of care for its Members and staff, and protecting public health.

As a result, various meetings and activities due to take place on Parliament's premises, including those organised by the delegations, have been cancelled or postponed.

The Delegation for relations with Israel will resume its meetings as soon as the European Parliament returns to its normal calendar of activities

Photo of the Delegation at the constituent meeting of 26 September 2019

09-04-2020 13:28
Group photo of the Members who took part in the constituent meeting of the Delegation for Relations with Israel on 26 September 2019 in Brussels Group photo of the Members who took part in the constituent meeting of the Delegation for Relations with Israel on 26 September 2019 in Brussels
20190926_EP-092240A_PBU_092.JPG © European Parliament
The Delegation for Relations with Israel held its constituent meeting on 26 September 2019 in Brussels.